tv American Politics CSPAN January 18, 2010 12:30am-2:00am EST
as vigilant as possible in the way we run the services that are necessary for our national security. immediately after the detroit attempted bomb on christmas day, it was for us also to make sure that our security arrangements for people coming into the country were satisfactory, and i ordered a review of those arrangements, as i told the house last week. equally, we also decided that the coordination of our different services is an important issue, and, facing new technology and new methods being used by terrorist groups, we had to do more to ensure the full coordination of all our services to deal with potential incidents. that is another set of work that has been put in motion. so at all times we seek to be vigilant. i have to say to him that the introduction of biometric visas and then of the e-borders system will be of great benefit to us in being able to identify people coming into and going out of the country, and i hope there will be all-party support for that. >> alun michael.
>> employment in the public sector is very important to the economy of wales, and cuts in the short term would impede the recovery of the private sector. has my right honorable friend made an assessment of the difference between the impact of the tough but long-term approach he is taking and of the precipitate, immediate, and unplanned cuts that are demanded by the leader of the opposition? >> i can say from the work that has been done that if we had pursued the same policies as in the 1980's and the 1990's, 1.7 million fewer people would be employed today. it is because we took action to help young people into work and to help small businesses that the unemployment claimant count, which was 10% or higher in some of the recessions of the 1980's and 1990's, has remained half that today, and we are determined to do still more to help young people into work and those adults who are looking for work.
the difference is this -- when it came to the recession, other parties were prepared to walk by on the other side, but we decided to act. >> dr. andrew murrison. >> what is the prime minister's attitude to the current situation in the western sahara? >> [laughter] >> i am thinking of all the issues that he wishes me to talk about in relation to the western sahara. the one thing that i have been worried about is the growth of ethnic violence in these areas. the one thing that we have tried to do is increase -- indeed, double -- our aid to these areas, and the one thing that we have been worried about is the growth of terrorist groups in these areas. that is why we are taking the action that is necessary to dissuade people from terrorism. i have had numerous conversations with leaders in these areas. if he wishes to direct me to a specific point, i will take it up.
>> andrew mackinlay. >> does the prime minister recall in september 2008 acclaiming the success of the 16 air assault brigade and 2,000 british soldiers in delivering to the kajaki dam a turbine? will he tell the house why that turbine, which cost lives, has not been installed? who makes these important military so-called strategic decisions? the turbine was delivered at a high price and has not been installed. >> order. we have got the thrust of it. prime minister. >> i have investigated the issue. rightly, it is asked of us why the turbine is not working when it was delivered at great cost in terms of lives and effort. other sources of power have been found for the areas that were supposed to be served, but it is still our intention that that turbine be used to create the power that is necessary for the
economic advance that is possible. >> bob spink. >> essex teenage tearaways are being sent to a sensitive residential area in castle point by essex county council without any consultation whatsoever. they are terrorizing residents, elderly frail people, and businesses with extreme bad behavior. does he agree that people should always be properly consulted, and that the location of those establishments should be sensitively and carefully considered? essex county council should be ashamed of putting it -- >> we have got the thrust of it. i am grateful to the honorable gentleman. prime minister. >> no one should be expected to suffer from antisocial behavior. that is why we have created neighborhood policing units that have a responsibility for dealing with antisocial behavior as well as with crime. it is also why we are targeting families such as those that he mentions, whose lives are so chaotic that they are disrupting the lives of people around them. no pensioner, in particular, should be expected to suffer from that.
that is why next month we will be announcing new measures to help people who are victims of antisocial behavior, so that we can get quick action to them as well as deal with the problems at source. i hope he can be assured that we are taking the action that is necessary, but recognize that this is a problem for many people in the country. >> charlotte atkins. >> today's stunning results in the schools in staffordshire, moorlands demonstrate 10 years of remarkable achievement and a decade of investment in dilapidated schools transforming them into modern learning centers for the whole community. why is it that the hardworking students and the efforts of school staff, head teachers and governors are constantly talked down by the opposition? >> they can try and shout down good news, but we will tell people. ten or 12 years ago there were 1,600 underperforming schools in our country when we came to power. today the figure announced is
less than 250. this is a huge change that is being met by the national educational challenge. we should continue to ensure that by 2011 there is not one underperforming school in our country. we ought to offer the best education to every child. even if conservative members sneer, we will continue to finance the education of every young person in this country. >> christopher chope. >> thank you, mr. speaker, for playing extra time. can i ask the prime minister what he is doing to prevent the population of this country from reaching 70 million? >> we have introduced the points system for immigration. the points system is working because where we need no unskilled workers and need workers who have specialist skills but not other workers with skills, they will not now be invited into the country. of course, when people come into the country, they must have a contribution to make to this country. the points system is ensuring that net migration is falling.
it is also ensuring that where we do not need workers to come into the country, they do not come in. mr. speaker: order. >> each week the house of commons is in session, we air "prime minister's questions." live on c-span wednesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern and then again on sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. you can find video archive of past shows and links to the house of commons and prime ministers websites on our website. >> coming up, state of the state address is from illinois governor pat quinn and alabama governor bob riley. also, a discussion on the leadership of al qaeda. following that, look at the use of new media in political
campaigns. tomorrow on "washington journal," and discussion about president obama's proposed fees on banks that received tarp money with steve bartlett. also, a look at how al qaeda recruits young people. following that, a discussion on the dispute between google and china, after google announced they were hit by cyber attacks that originated in china. "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c- span. tomorrow, but new virginia governor bob mcdonnell's date of the commonwealth speech. see that live starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern, here on c-span.
devastating natural disaster has hit the country in the people of haiti. i think the people of illinois have generous hearts, and we say prayers for those victims of the natural disaster, and we ask god to help them recover as quickly as possible. i know the people of illinois are good and true, and whatever we could do to help the people of haiti, we will do. i really want to thank everyone here for the warm welcome. i appreciate the opportunity to be the governor of the state of illinois, the land of lincoln. it is a great honor. i know it is a trust. i believe the office of governor is one that belongs to the people. in serving in this office for nearly a year, it has been a great honor and privilege an opportunity to visit people all across the state of illinois. it is a diverse state, and i believe everybody is in and nobody is left out.
we all know that i assume to this office under the most difficult of circumstances. on the 29th of january last year, i took the oath of office. in taking that oath of office, i knew that we had a stake in crisis, they stayed that needed stabilization, that needed an honest governor. in the past year we have worked together night and day in some cases to win the trust of the people. we have to build the trust of the people. obviously, the events that preceded my oath of office and shook the confidence of the people of illinois, and their hearts were hurting. it was our duty as men and women of a democracy, the greatest democracy on planet earth, to come together in good faith and reform our government. i said at the beginning of my
time as governor, this has to be a year of reform. i think in the course of carrying out our duties in the past year, we have done very well with respect to restoring ethics and integrity to our government. we understood there was a need to pass strong, tough laws to deal with honesty and integrity, the integrity of our government. it must always match the honesty of our people. we reform the public pensions. we dealt with boards and commissions. we enacted strong standards with respect to procurement and contracts. we reform the behavior and enacted strong ethics standards for lobbyists as well as state employees. all of those were very important reforms and needed reforms. in addition, we took on the difficult task of looking at how campaigns are conducted and how they are financed, never an easy subject in any place in this country or at the federal
level. we came together in good faith. we worked together and passed one law that was found wanting. i did not sign that law. we came together again, working together in a democracy and enacted a campaign finance reform law that i did sign. it is for the first time a chance to have limits on campaign contributions in the state of illinois. much more disclosure and openness with respect to money and politics. i think that is a great achievement. i think when history is written, people will look back and say that that members of the general assembly, together with the governor, in 2009 heard the people and enacted fundamental, ethical reforms. i spoke on the day that the campaign finance bill passed the house and senate with sheila simon, who is a good friend. she is the daughter of paul simon, who endorsed me for lieutenant governor. i told sheila that we did not
get the whole loaf in the campaign finance reform bill, but she immediately said we got many slices. i think that is really how her father would look at, and how democracy works. there may be more to do, i think there is. we do need and we -- we need in illinois and ethics initiative that would put into our constitution that would give voters at every level of government, whether the local, county, or state level, the power repetition and binding referendum to enact ethical standards and campaign finance rules that the people feel are appropriate for all of us who are elected representatives. i would like to see that on a ballot in 2010 on november 2, when those of us who are running for statewide office go before the people. i think it is important to give the people of illinois the tools that they need to strengthen our democracy. we have to strengthen the voter
s. they are the ones who count. having an ethics initiative solely devoted to ethics in government and campaign finance reform is a very important need in the state of illinois. democracy is a process that goes on year after year. it is very important that we bring the people into our democracy and let them set the rules for our conduct and our behavior. this is the first time in history of illinois that such a constitutional amendment has been presented to the people. the people must enact the recall a man by 3/50, and i think they will.
-- the people must enact the recall amendment by 3/5 vote, and i think they will. we must give the people the chance to cast their vote of confidence or no confidence. enacting a recall amendment and an ethics initiative into our constitution this year will complete the job that the people of illinois sent us to do. when things go wrong in a democracy, but you have to use or the rules of democracy to correct those mistakes. in the course of working together this year, we have shown that when people work together, we can accomplish great things. we can accomplish amazing things. one of the things that was bad and our state before my arrival, there was much dissension, discord, disharmony, friction, name-calling.
it does not work in life or in a democracy. it is very important that we always have an attitude of civility in the course of our work, that we respect all those who were elected by the people and that we try our very best to work together so we can accomplish great things. is important to go over a few of the things we have done this year that we have accomplished. i think it is something that is important for the people to know, that their elected representatives work together on issues of very high importance to the public. one of those issues that occurred this year was the fact that when i became governor, we did not have all our state parks open or our historic sites, and the governor's mansion was rarely used. i think it was important for the people of illinois to see that the people's house, the governor's mansion, was open to the people. on abraham lincoln's birthday, we had an open house at the
governor's mansion. we had many events and invited legislators as well as ordinary, everyday people of illinois, the heart and soul of our state, to come to the governor's mansion and to come to our state parks. it is very important that in this time of economic recession we have parks available for the people. i made sure that happened when i became governor. [applause] we want to leave no child inside in illinois. it is important for children to get outside in nature with their moms and dads and with their friends to see the wonders of nature. long ago, when teddy roosevelt was president of our country, he said conservation is a patriotic thing to do. it is important that we understand the spiritual value of being in nature, so are state parks are quite important to us. i was distressed that my predecessor padlocked some of the state parks. very early in my term as
governor, i ordered that the parks be open, and they are, and i am glad to see that. that is just the beginning of openness in our government. we had to work together on all kinds of important tasks. one that is important for our economy is that we had to get 3/5 vote of the members of the general assembly in the house and in the senate to vote for what is called the job recovery bill, whatever you want to call it. for 10 years in illinois, we did not have the legislation passed that invested in the fundamental things in our economy like safe roads and bridges, improving our water systems, making sure we have a good rail system to get goods to market, to build our schools and rebuild our schools. there was a lot of friction. this past year, which came together and work together and enacted a landmark law that will really help our state today and
tomorrow with respect to its economy and jobs. we invested together and work together on it. [applause] i want to commend all those who worked on that, the leadership of the republican party, the democratic party, and the membership of both parties. we understood that the folks who elected us needed us to get this job done, and worked together to get it done. it was not easy, and took a lot of hard work, but that is what democracy is all about. the same way when something goes wrong in our democracy, we do not overlook it. what happened at the university of illinois that we are also proud of, they had an admissions review scandal that came up in the course of the year. i appointed an admissions review commission to look into it and find out the facts. they found out the facts, and we had to replace seven trusties
and the board of trustees. they elected a new chairman, christopher kennedy, a new president who has taken office who is doing an excellent job. that is how you deal with things in a democracy. when something does not go the way you wanted to do, then you correct the mistake. president eikenberry told me that the board at the university of illinois today is the best one he has ever seen. it is so important that we have good leadership in all our educational institutions. that is what democracy is, people coming together and working together to solve problems. another one that should get some attention is the whole issue of foreclosure. many of our good neighbors, through no fault of their own, have lost their job and are in danger of losing their home. we enacted a good bill that gives people more time to get their finances together to ward
off foreclosure. another landmark bill is to help utility consumers, people who are struggling in a tough recession paying their utility bills. we have a lot in place that helps people of poor or modest income of 4 their utilities in cold winter, as well as making sure that all of us have an opportunity to use our utility bill to help finance energy efficient improvements in our home. another important consumer bill we enacted was to deal with the issue of denial of care by insurance companies. many health insurance consumers have found that when they need help most, the insurance company denies care. we should have a process where there is an independent review of that, and we were able to pass that wall. it is a very important law that we work together on to make sure we have good health in our society. i think health is important. every life is important. there is a passage in scripture
that says, if you save one life, you save the whole world. this year in illinois, for the first time since 1921, we had less than 1000 deaths on the highways of illinois, the lowest number since 1921. [applause] that took a lot of work. members of the general assembly passed legislation that was signed into law. it took a state policeman on highways, men and women who work for the dead part of transportation, often in difficult weather to clear the roads and make them say. it took law enforcement at every level. there was one person in particular who has led the way for our great record in reducing fatalities, saving lives on our highways. he is a man who has always stood for public safety.
the day i got sworn in, he called me up and said whatever it takes to help get our state back on track, he was willing to help and serve. we passed a law this year, a very important law that will ban texting while driving. he was the leader of that. i want to thank all over secretary of state, jesse blight. please stand up -- jessie white. [applause] he is a modest man. we are on the eve of dr. martin luther king's birthday. he would be 81 this coming year, and dr. king, as you may know,
his first pastorate was in montgomery, alabama, the home of alabama state. that is where jesse white was going to school the very time darter king arrived in montgomery. he joined with his friends to help support dr. king. he was there when rosa parks said she was not going to move to the back of the bus. jesse white as head ally of service. half a century of helping mentor young people and making sure they go the right way in life. i am publicly but very grateful to you, jesse. you have been a great friend and adviser. i really appreciate your help in these tough times in the state of illinois. thank you very much. [applause] as i mentioned, any time we can save a life, it is a very important thing. one of my very first bill that i
signed this year had to do with mammograms and breast cancer screening. we do not want anyone to be denied health measures that they need in order to save their life and make their life better. sometimes it takes the efforts of lots of citizens at the grassroots level to bring to our attention the need for important reforms. that happened up, and one of the first bills i signed was a bill that allows women of color, women of low-income, access to mammograms and breast cancer screening. that effort was due to the tireless efforts of two women who were with us today. i think it is important to recognize their efforts. dr. janice phillips, a leader in the area of minority helalth and health care disparities. together with angela walker, who
at dinner last night at the governor's mansion, she is a breast cancer survivor. she works for the american cancer society. she is focused on educating the public on the importance of mammograms and early detection. i would like for dr. phillips and angela to stand up and be recognized for their great efforts. [applause] i think it is important to recognize citizens when they take their time, their ability to organize, and bring together a whole community of people to get a law passed. just imagine that. some group of people, through their hard work have passed a law in our state, the land of lincoln. it is very important to recognize that kind of effort in
a democracy. everybody in a democracy is important. it is not a spectator sport. it is something where all of us have a duty as citizens to participate. related to that is another issue that i was very impressed with in the past year. we had a horrific scandal at a cemetery in our state. it was on the national and international news. it was a very horrific scandal, and it is incumbent upon all of us here in springfield, in our state capital, to address what went wrong there and may go wrong at other cemeteries in our state. i want to commend the general assembly for taking this issue and squarely addressing it. it is very important that we pass reform legislation there as part of working together. that is the key for our state's success at all times, all of us working together for important causes. . .
i was contacted by our president, barack obama and his administration, about the need to come to illinois, his home state to inspect the prison, a nearly vacant prison that we have not been able to afford to open, thompson prison, far away from here, probably 150 miles, right on the border of iowa. it was not easy. there were some been that even
when we open for the door -- open the door for inspection, criticized that decision. but as governor, you have to do what you think is right. what i tried to do when the president called is allow those federal prison officials to come to illinois to inspect the prison. when they came through here, they found that it was an ideal prison for a federal prison that they were anxious to buy. but in order to really make this go forward in our state, i agree that i would sell the prison to the federal government for a fair market value, but we have a good process in illinois where legislators come together, of both parties, to analyze a particular matter. last week that analysis was complete. i do want to thank the members of that committee who looked at that issue. in particular, i want to salute representative jim sacia, who was not a member of the committee but we heard about the opportunity to create jobs in western illinois, stood forward
in said that this was upon his analysis a good transaction for the people. i also want to salute members of the other party that i am not a member of, but who voted in favor of the transaction, dave c%, as well as rich myers and all the members who voted for that -- dave syverson as well as rich myers and all the members of voted for that transaction. i think it will help our state in the sense that we will have four jobs. there may be in more than 3000 new jobs, new income. i think it is important to remember that the people of our state, we're never afraid of anything. we can handle any task. the decision of the committee last week have the transaction go forward, i think is a good decision. it will help our country. as general david petreaus told the president that the closing of guantanamo bay prison in cuba and moving those detainees elsewhere, incarcerating them
elsewhere is imperative for our national security. when the president of united states in his military advisor call this governor, he is there to listen and help in any way that he can. i think people of illinois appreciate that kind of work. on the matter of jobs, i think it is before us all. last year, a year of reform and stabilization, we were enabled to enact a far-reaching law that will help us get jobs back on track in illinois. but i want to be a governor who understands the economic needs of everyday people in our state. i have always done that as state treasurer, lieutenant governor, and now i am the governor, and i think the number one issue in illinois today is getting our economy back on track. president franklin delano roosevelt said a long time ago
during the great depression, when my father and mother were young, that the best social policy ever devised, the best government program ever devised is a good job. and that is what we have to understand -- our mission this year is to revive our economy and put people back to work. we can do it in the state of illinois. i want to be the building governor. i want to build more things, more good things across our state than any other governor in state history. we have the wherewithal and the will to do it and the people to do it. we have the work ethic to do it. it is very important in illinois that we have work. we have to replace a culture of violence in some of our neighborhoods with a culture of work, and we must have work available to those who are ready and willing to do the job.
i have laid out a jobs and economic growth plan for our state. i want to go over what we will be doing this year. we have more construction planned for illinois -- road construction, bridge repair, water investment, rail construction, helping build new schools and repair old schools -- this is what we have to do. we have to prime the pump and get our economy back on track. we did that with public works that put our people to work. it is very important to understand that we have an opportunity in illinois to make investments that will not only help create jobs today but will set the foundation for economic growth for our state for many years to come. i want to go over today a few of the ways we are going to do that. we want to be an inland port for the whole nation three we're right in the middle of the country. every railroad in the nation crisscrosses our state.
we have great transportation and we want to make it better. we want to improve our roads and bridges. here we were able to pave and repair 2,000 miles of roads. that's enough roads to go from springfield to the pacific ocean, and you have not seen anything yet. in the coming year, we're going to do even more. we repaired 93 bridges this past year and we want to do more. it is very important to understand that we can be an inland port for the whole central part of our country, the heart of our nation. but we have to make sure that we have good transportation. we have to unsnarl some of the freight bottlenecks in our rail. we have to have good chance bridge -- passenger rail. we want to have a passenger train that goes from chicago to rockford and beyond. we want to have a passenger train that goes from chicago to the quad cities and beyond. we also want to have a high- speed rail that connects chicago to st. louis.
fast trains are the wave of the future. our commit -- our president is committed to this. our state has invested $400 million. we look for to getting a decision from washington very soon on a high-speed rail network where our state is the center for the whole network for the midwest. i have worked with other governors across the midwest and we understand that rail can create a lot of new jobs for our state, and we're very committed to that. we are also committed to air transportation. we have to understand that there is an opportunity in peotone to build a new airport that will surpass -- serve passengers and freight, and create new economic growth and jobs. i want to accelerate our investment in that third airport this year. when we talk about fast trains, i would like to see a fast train that goes from chicago through the south suburbs past peotone, through kankakee, all the way to
our great state university at urbana-champaign. it is very important that we have super fast rail and even in our capital bill, we have some resources available to begin planning a very fast train that would connect chaco and champagne. i think it's important to understand -- chicago and champaign. we can grow our economies correspondingly across the midwest but particularly connecting to universities and airports and having the opportunity with rail and highway transportation to be at the center of distribution for the whole middle part of our country. we want the use an inland port -- that whole idea to create new jobs, high-wage jobs in illinois. this is not pie in the sky. we are already doing it in joliet, where we are creating an intermodal that will create thousands of jobs for hard- working people. it is also important not to make little plans. we have to have big plans.
we cannot have a governor who just sees a day or two ahead. we have to have a plan for our economy for the next generation. that is why i am committed to making sure that we had in our state that kind of biotechnology that we're capable of. we have great pharmaceutical companies in illinois. we have great research universities. we have great hospitals. this summer in chicago will be the international by a convention. -- international bio convention. we also understand that futuregen, a project that is on the drawing board and closely -- hopefully close to fruition, located in mattoon, ill., where we have clean coal, we do it the right way. this is an opportunity for our state and i personally want to thank senator durbin for his leadership on this issue. hopefully we can get that
investment in downstate illinois. another area we need to improve upon and i want to commend the legislature for your action yesterday. it is important that in the middle of the country where people want to come to see the great sights of illinois, not just in chicago but here in springfield and all over, we want to be a hospitable place, a place for tourism, a place for history-based tourism, to learn about lincoln, a place for nature-based tourism, a place to come to a convention in chicago. it is important that we make sure that our facilities for conventions at mcpier, mccormick place, are done in the right place. we have work to do there, we know that, but we began that work yesterday. a look lord to signing the bill that's passed the general assembly. we want to make sure that those 303,000 jobs that we have in conventions and hospitality in illinois multiply and grow.
we have to understand that that is a good part for our state to grow its economy because of all the opportunities. a growing economy and a growing middle class -- that is the key to empowerment for the people of illinois. we have to have a governor who has a plan and sees the future. and i see a great future in green collar jobs in illinois. we have to understand that we have to have a green way of thinking. we have to have a green way of acting. sustainability is the key to economic empowerment in our country. those are jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation -- they will not go away. by definition they stay in our own backyard. we have to teach young people who may be in a violent neighborhood not to take up a gun and use it against their fellow human beings. rather, they should take up a caulking gun and learn how to weatherize buildings. that is what we have to do in
illinois. i want to thank the black caucus and all the members of the general assembly who led the way for a weatherization initiative in illinois. we know we have cold weather, whether in january or february. we want to make sure that our homes and our businesses and our institutions are weatherized. we can save money for consumers and teach green collar skills to young boys and girls who want a job. they want a chance. they want to be in the middle class. that is where our country is always based on -- having people with opportunity to follow their dreams and get a skill that can make a difference. i really feel that the green economy, the opportunity to have the energy efficiency in all of its forms across our state is very important as we go into this year. and that is why in the bill you enacted and i signed, the capital bill, we have substantial investment in energy
efficiency. we do not want to build one building in illinois, one public building, one school, one university building, one kind of building of any kind without making sure that it is energy efficient, that is a sustainable, that it is engages in water conservation. we have the resources thanks to the good work of people here in this assembly working with the governor. we have the resources to a embark on this journey. when we build a new road, we want to lay fiber next to that road so that we can have high- speed internet not just in some areas of illinois but all across our state where nobody is left out, where we do not have a digital divide. high-speed internet, broadband appointment -- broadband deployment is the key for all of us have better education, better health culture -- better
healthcare, better law enforcement, more jobs in the future. i want to say a word about our agriculture. i've had the honor of working with men and women in agriculture when i was state treasurer and also when i was lieutenant governor. there is only been one person and a whole history of governor who has been in this office are of governor who is been voted mr. soybean by the illinois soybean association. you are looking at him. my nickname is solely boy -- soy boy. i understand that our whole green economy depends a lot on agriculture. george washington carver got plastic out of soybeans. you can get fuel out of them, you can eat them, and it is very important that we understand that our corn and our soybeans are very key parts of the illinois economy. 40% of our economy comes from agriculture.
we need to honor those who till our land, who plow our fields, and they are very special people who work very hard. they have a tremendous work ethic and i really honor all of those in illinois agriculture. we have to work with them to grow our opportunities to export our products, to take our bio products and convert them into plastics or other goods and services that make a difference around the world. the shedd aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world, the most visited aquarium in the world. it is located in our state in chicago. they have a soybean roof. they discovered that you can take soybeans, convert them to pay, a white paint, and roll that paint onto an asphalt roof like the shedd aquarium, 75-year result, and that white root -- white paint reflects the sun off the roof, keeps the fish cooler and the people cooler. and it saves money on the air- conditioning. they use less electricity.
that is how we can use the illinois soybeans in a creative way with an illinois business that creates this white paint, soybean paint, and save consumers money and makes us more sustainable. we have to see how these interconnections come together. that is what i believe a governor does, looks for ways to put these people together to work together for the common good. related to this -- the whole area of wind mills and wind turbines. i think that this is something that all of us will embrace as we go through this next few years. we have invested money in our capital bill in this. we also have credits for those who develop wind power, make sure that they have contracts and so on. but what is important about wind power is that it is clean and it is from our own back yard and it is all american. i have been to a rock, to the combat zone, and i have seen firsthand how heroic our soldiers are. and i think it is our duty back
home to try and speak -- try to be as innocent -- energy independent as we can. we do not want to see our dollars indirectly go into the hands of petro-dictators somewhere around the world who are financing terrorism. one way we can fight back -- one way we can fight back is to have more renewable power in our state. from the wind, from solar, from biomass, we can do this. we have a law that this general assembly passed, a good law that says by 2025, 25% of our power will come from renewable sources. we can do this. we have to embark on it right now. we have to build those wind turbines into it in a proper way. one thing about the sustainable economy, the green economy, or investing in renewable energy is that it brings in jobs that create prosperity. siemens, an internationally known company, came to elgin this year. they are building gears for
these giant wind turbines, manufacturing it right in our backyard. we have to grab this opportunity and develop the green economy for jobs for the people of illinois. i think that there are many other ways to do this. it is important as we take all look at our economy to understand that jobs follow brainpower. we can never forget that. it is very important for all of us in illinois to invest in education, from beginning of life to the end of life. the federal reserve bank of minneapolis did a study not long ago and said the very best investment the government can make is in early as -- early childhood education. it pays dividends for generations. for the first time in our state's history, we included early childhood facilities,
education facilities, in our capital bill. we're going to help build some of those buildings that those young boys and girls will learn in. a long time ago, carl sandburg, poet laureate of illinois, said that the birth of the baby is god opinion that the world should go on, and if god thinks the world should go on with that baby, we better take good care of that baby. that is the way i look at it. learning begins at birth. birth to age five is a very key time for all children in illinois. we have to as adults and parents be custodians of the future. when the history of our time is written, they are not going ask us how big our bank account was, or what kind of house you lived in, or what kind of car you drove, they are going no ask you what you did to help make better the lives of children. as we go about our work this year, we should have this attitude that we're working for the future. we have to do hard things today in order to make our kids and
their kids lives better. that is really bringing out the best in illinois. that is why i believe not only in early education but our elementary and secondary education. we have to have high standards. we have to invest in education, but we must make sure it is accountable. i want to thank the general assembly for passing a very good bill that took a lot of hard work. i want to commend senator kimberly lightford in particular for all the work that she did to expand public charter schools in illinois. we were able to sign that law and i think it is quick to make a difference for children who want that particular education across our state. and just yesterday, the general assembly in very quick time working with a lot of different people -- and i want to salute roger eddy, jerry mitchell who worked so hard and getting all law passed that could make a difference for years to come, called "raced to the top," accountable education.
we have to comply with a federal deadline of next week to get our application in for up to $500 million in federal money for race to the top to make sure that our education in our state at the elementary and secondary level is second to none. it is so gratifying to see so many school districts, i think up to 340 school districts, have already signed on to participate in this program. education at all levels is the key to economic empowerment. it is the best way for equal opportunity for the most people in a democracy. and that is why i believe in community colleges. we have our community colleges in illinois bursting at the seams. almost all of them have at least 10% enrollment increases, because community colleges are key to having a nimble economy to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us across the world. we have to have community colleges that give people the skills they need to compete in a
world economy. when something bad happens, when you lose your job, what our citizens in illinois do is they do not quit -- they are not gloom and doom people. they go back to school and improve their skills. i know this firsthand because i used to teach committed these college at night and saw how hard our men and women in illinois want to improve their lives and continue their skills. it is important that we invest in community college. it is very important that we invested our four-year universities. one of the things that we did this year was to make sure that the map program, the scholarship program, a program around for half a century, that provides scholarships this year for 138,000 students -- 56,000 going to community college, the rest going to public and private four-year universities. that program was in danger but we came together. we did not throw up our hands. we said that we can get this job done and we passed a law to make
sure that the map program was protected. i was so inspired when i was here that day, i believe in october, when all those students and their parents and their teachers came to our capitol in springfield. that was the loudest i have ever heard this building resound with the calls of students to make sure that the map program was protected. they were well-behaved, but they do believe in the power of democracy and the power of their own voice. and so i want to salute all of those maps students across illinois, those scholarship students, many of them the first in their family who have ever gone to college. we have one of them here today. kerry ashes with us, a student member of the faculty senate over a champion at the university there. he helped organize the student movement to save the map program. why don't you stand up and be recognized, carry? -- cary?
we want to make sure that we have as many scholarships as possible for students. i look for to working with you as we go through this year and having dedicated funding for our scholarship program in illinois. i don't think it should ever be put in jeopardy. we need to make sure that it has dedicated programming -- funding. i said before that jobs follow brainpower. we have some of the best universities on planet earth right here in illinois, and we're very proud of our universities. we the people of university of illinois invest in our universities. our sons and daughters go to the schools that we want to make sure that those to graduate from our universities hopefully stay in illinois. it is important that we understand that we in our educational system are preparing those who are going to create the new businesses of the future, invent the new products
come work in very complex jobs that require great skill. so education has to be part of our economic agenda to protect and grow the middle class in illinois. we've got to understand that education and jobs go together. i do want to also recognize today two young men who went to school in illinois. this general assembly has provided for in illinois math and science academy that is world renowned, and the students who have certainly made their mark on our economy and on our world. these two young men went to the university of illinois where we have at the university, being constructed right now, the world's fastest computer. it is called the blue waters project. it is a very important project that will help our economy. it's going to help education in illinois, the fastest computer on planet earth, the most powerful supercomputer. we are very proud of that. we have to make sure that when we make that investment that we
get the fruits of that investment, but these two young men that i want to recognize our graduates of our high schools in illinois well as our university. what is mike mccool, a graduate in 1991 from the math and science academy. he was on a team at the university of illinois at urbana-champaign that created mosaic, the internet browser that is used to start netscape. his colleague is ramez naam who helped develop two of the most widely used pieces of software in the whole war, the microsoft internet explorer and microsoft outlook. he has served as a member of the advisory board of the nanobusiness alliance, a member of the world future society, and holds a degree in computer science from our university of illinois. we've got to develop brains like mike mccool and ramez naam, over and over again, in order that have a strong economy in illinois, and that means investing in our education. i would like mike and ramez to
stand up and be recognized for their contribution to our future. we all know that education is important but we have to pay for. that is the part of the address here today where the governor who comes by caution does not mandate in january of the year to report to the people and to the general assembly -- we have to make sure that everyone is listening to the truth, because our state, as you know, as a severe budget deficit. i did not created and when i assumed office, it was $11.5 billion. we've done everything we can to try to manage this financial crisis. it is the worst financial calamity that illinois has ever had. we have been a state since 1818. we have done all things
imaginable, we've cut costs across the board, our expenses. we're going to reduce our budget by about $2 billion. it was the mandate of the people in the general assembly and we've listened to that mandate. i have cut my pay. i take furloughs like all my other workers. it is very important that in tough times those in government have to tighten their belt, and we have. we have also used the resources of the federal government that had been made available to us, through president obama's leadership. our state in many other states -- every other state -- has received help from the federal government during this very difficult recession. we will continue to do that. i want to thank the general assembly yesterday for understanding that having $250 million, an opportunity to borrow that money, so that we can spend on our healthcare and medicaid, that we can bring back from the federal government and enhanced medicaid match under
the federal stimulus. we tried to do this in december and was blocked. i am thankful to the general assembly that you saw the wisdom of doing this and yesterday passed a law that i will sign that will get us more federal money under this enhanced match for healthcare. part of managing our budget right now is getting as many federal resources as we can. i'm going to be at the governors association meeting next month in washington where the governors across our country will come together and work with the president and the federal congress to help our states navigate through this perilous economic time. my mom and dad, as i said, grew up in the great depression. we do not have a great depression, but we do have a great recession. and it has caused great, great difficulties for the people of illinois. our income tax and sales tax revenues have declined precipitously during this recession, and we have to revive them. that is what our economic plan is all about. that is why everyone here worked
so hard to get a job recovery plan passed last year that we implemented this past year, and this year we are really going to get it going to get people back to work, hopefully have more confidence, and buy goods and services that they need for their families. but it is important to know that when we have a situation where we are getting federal resources, we are cutting costs, we are using strategic borrowing where necessary, and this is happened in the past and sometimes it happens again, in order to get our state through a tough time. as you know there was an effort last summer by some to cut human services in illinois during this great recession, cut them in half. i did not think that that was right and i vetoed that budget. we went back to work and we passed a different budget, one that does involve some borrowing in order did keep those human services going. what are these human services? they are things like child care to make sure that working parents have a good place for
their children to go to during the day and to learn -- we have to invest in child care in illinois. i was not going to cut child care in half. the same with our community care, a great program that provides someone of modest wages to help our seniors stay in their homes so that they do not have to go to a nursing home. they can be in their own neighborhood, participate in neighborhood activities, go to their local church. go to things in their community that they had been used to for years and years. our program of community care is an outstanding one and we were not going to cut that in half. the same way with our people with disabilities. they are special people in illinois, there was an effort to cut programs for them in half. out would not stand for that. we want to make sure that people who have disabilities have independent living and an opportunity to fill -- to fulfill their dreams, and so we rejected the unwise efforts to cut the budget for those with
disabilities. it is very important even in a tough time that we retain our heart, our decency. we have to have a government that understands that when people get a bad break in life, lose their job, it is not their fault and they do not despair. they don't think about committing suicide or engage in bad behavior, whether alcoholism or violence. we have to help those people and rescue those people. that is part of the governor's mission to make sure that we have a fair and decent budget. we had to work on that overtime last year. it did not end on may 31 edition of. we went through june, and then half of july. finally came to a budget that is far from perfect. but it is a budget that we have to work on over the course of this fiscal year and the next fiscal year as we prepare for the future. i do believe that we need more revenue. i think after cutting all the costs, after using strategic borrowing, after getting as much money as we can get from the federal government, we are still short. we have to understand that in a
democracy in tough times, it takes fortitude to look at what the facts are, not to kid ourselves. there are some who have budget plans right now that sound good if you say them fast, but when you take a look at the fine print, they are cutting human services, cutting education, cutting healthcare for people who have no other healthcare but what we can provide through medicaid. it is very important we not do that. i think we must be a decent state, and indeed, a key to the economy in illinois is for us to keep our human services, our education, and our healthcare top notch. and so that is what i am committed to do as governor. i think what we ought to do this year, develop or to working with you on it, is to reform our tax system. we have had an unfair tax system for many cheap -- too many years in illinois.
it wastes -- it relies too much on property taxes and other levies that are not based on ability of paper i think there is a principle as old as the bible. taxes should be based on ability to pay. nobody likes paying taxes, nobody. but in a democracy, that is what all of us as citizens do. we have to come together and finance our government, we the people, so i look for to working with members of the general assembly this year on finding a fair way to raise revenue from a fair tax code, but in my opinion, if we work together in good faith, we can cut taxes on 5 million people, maybe more in illinois. if we can find ways using the personal exemption, using the earned income tax credit, using the property tax relief credit, to talk -- to cut taxes on people who need help the most, people of modest income and poor people. there is something wrong in illinois where our state is taxing poor people into further poverty. we is the state and as a general
assembly and as a governor can come together and work together just as we did for the capital bill on the job recovery bill. we can do this years -- this year, not next year, to make sure we have adequate revenue for important things that all of us want in government, doing it in a fair way that does not unfairly tax anyone. i looked forward to doing that with you. i think it is important that we embark on this journey and i want to assure you over the course of this year that we will continue to cut costs in government. there's only been one governor in the history of illinois he was a super-8 card, and i have used it as governor, it will continue to use it where appropriate. it is important to show economy everywhere you can. i have a vip card at that particular dwelling place, or lodging place. no in reducing our costs, obviously we have to be careful and i want to focus on something that is a very important area of our government, the department
of corrections. it has a budget of over $1 billion, one of the largest departments in illinois, and it is important that it be managed properly. in cutting expenses, it is important that we understand this has to be done in a focused way. i appointed a director of corrections, a man who -- who i have park -- high regard for. he made a mistake. he called -- he told me that in carrying out his cost reductions plans, if there was going to be any early release programs, with 13 states across the country engaged in these kind of programs for low-level offenders who have not committed violent crimes. i said that it that had happen given our dire economy in illinois, the fact that we do not have as much money in our budget as we like to have, we must carry out this program with care, and it can only apply to low-level non-violent offenders. in carrying out that mission, the mistakes were made by the
director, for which he takes responsibility, and i take accountability. like president obama said last week, when you are a chief executive, the buck stops here. i understand that if a mistake is made in government, it must be corrected. and that is exactly what i did. the moment i learned a mistake was made by the department of corrections, has suspended the program, i brought into our government a very wise man, judge david erickson, who served as a prosecutor, as a criminal court judge, as an appellate court judge, and now was a teacher at a law school. i asked judge erickson to take a look at this entire program in illinois. since 1978, we have had an early release program authorized by the legislature, signed by the governor. it had been amended a number of times. it has a lot of complicating factors. the judge came back very quickly with a comprehensive reform. i am happy to say that i am
carrying out his recommendations in his report. one of the recommendations is to have a chief public safety officer at the department of corrections to look at all receipts is -- all releases of all prisoners, whether they be early or not to make sure that all law enforcement officials in our state have adequate notice with respect to anyone's release. similarly, there was an unspoken policy or rule, whatever you want to call it, at the department regarding early release. the judge recommended that that be codified into law, and that is exactly what i recommended to the speaker of the house, the representative here yesterday, and senators. i am very happy that we were able to pass the beginning of our public safety reform initiative, to put into law in illinois clear rules for the director of corrections who has broad authority with respect to running our prisons. having said that, if you have to stand -- you have to understand
in illinois that we've gone from 18,000 inmates to 46,003 46,000 men and women are incarcerated in illinois. right now with our state every year, 28,000 inmates come into prison and 28,000 go out. we have to deal with this issue in our state like other big states. we want to make sure our prisons incarcerate hardened criminals at all times. we have to do that. at the same time, our society has to ask itself, "is the best way to punish a low-level, not a fine -- no -- non-violent offender, someone who is committed a crime and has to serve some kind of punishment -- is it the best way to have them to go to a state prison with its costs?" i think it is important in our state that we examine this issue. i appointed judge deano divito to look at a sentence advisory council provided for by law.
we're going to take a look at this and make sure that prisons are always incarcerating hardened criminals, and at the same time we want to take a look at how we deal with these low- level non-violent offenders who still must be punished. there may be other ways and there are other ways to do it, and there's -- that is something that we need to embark upon this year. i look forward to working with you on that mission. i think it is a very important public safety mission. on the area of public safety, i think we would always be remiss if we did not acknowledge the great, great work of our men and women in uniform, from our state of illinois and from every state. our state -- we are proud of every single boy or girl graduating from high school who answers the call to duty and joins our military. we of voluntary military in the united states of america, and as governor of illinois, i am commander in chief of large
national guard. as you may know, our national guard was deployed this year to afghanistan, the largest deployment since world war ii of the illinois national guard, and it was a very perilous assignment. i went to fort bragg, north carolina to watch their training and saw how arduous it was. we took horrific losses in afghanistan, 18 killed in action, 39 critically wounded. these are the best of the best, and i do want to knowledge the leader of our national guard in afghanistan who is with us here today, and he is a man that i think very highly of. it is brigadier general steven huber, deputy commander of the military army national guard. he served in our state as the commander of the combined joint taskforce phoenix, an illinois national guard-led taskforce, comprised of thousands of troops including more than 3000 from the state of illinois. general huber, i met general huber in kabul, afghanistan, and
i saw his leadership and i saw the leadership up -- the men and women under his command. they are not all young. some of their romp -- are almost as old as me. they go to a very full board in place -- they go to a very foreboding place at the gates of hell, confronting al qaeda and the taliban in the mountains of afghanistan and never complained. it was inspiring to be there with them and, general huber, on behalf of a grateful state and a grateful nation, thank you very much for your great leadership. i think that we not only want to
express our gratitude -- it was so inspiring across illinois going to many homecoming ceremonies in urbana, and freeport, in kankakee and chicago, to see our soldiers come marching home and to see them welcomed by our citizenry, the men and women of our state who understand how important it is to protect our democracy. and i think related to that is we always have in our state the very best programs in our states for our veterans. as we go through this year, we want to always make sure the programs we have to help our veterans, our service members, and their families are always there for them. we of programs like our war your assistance program in illinois -- all of our national guard members receive help from this. posttraumatic stress disorder is a signature injury of this war, the two wars we are in. it's very important that any person from our state who serves in the military, when they come back home if they have need of
any kind of counseling, they get that. and we will provide that. i made sure in our budget last year when there was an effort to cut this program that that would not be cut. it will never be cut. because it is very important we take good care of those who have borne the battle. the same with veterans care. we have a program in our state to provide health insurance for veterans who have no health insurance, who are not part of the va system, and we're going to retain that as well. i am happy to say that this year thanks to the good work of the general assembly we are going to build a new long-term veterans home in the city of chicago for our veterans, the first time in the city of chicago there will be a long-term care facility for our veterans. that is very important. it is also important that we employ our veterans. it is a situation unfortunately where when our veterans come home, many of them having fought
for us in baghdad or afghanistan it is important that we use our program to its maximum extent to make sure that our veterans get employed. i do want to salute mick yaegar and the members of the teamsters and all of those who run ball and "elements to hard hats," a great program that provides jobs for our veterans upon their return. we have to understand that in illinois -- we cannot forget our military families. when our soldiers are deployed from the reserves of the national guard, we have family members oftentimes living without great resource. many of our service members, when they enter the military from the reserves of the national guard, make a financial sacrifice. they make less in their military job than they were making in civilian life. these are our citizen soldiers.
they had been with us in our country since the beginning of our country. they were there at concord and lexington. they are the militias, the ones who are always there to stand up for our democracy. so they entered the service, they are making a very modest wage indeed prepared family members oftentimes find it hard to pay utility bills, to pay the gasoline bills, the healthcare bills. if the rule has a hole in it, how do you pay for that? we have a good program in illinois, the first of its kind in the country, and it is been imitated by many other states, but we have the best. the illinois military family relief trust fund providing financial assistance to all of our guard members and reservists. it has helped thousands and thousands of people -- nearly 20,000 military families in illinois with more than $10 million. i want to thank the general assembly for helping fund that program, and i want to thank the people of illinois for voluntarily contributing to that program through a check off box
on their income tax. it's very important we not forget that. is also important that we honor those families who have lost a son or daughter in these conflicts in iraq or afghanistan. they come from our state. since i have been governor, there have been 36 service members killed in action in iraq and afghanistan. 36 in just one year. their bid to end 70 since the war began there on september 11, 2001. and we have families in illinois, gold star families who will never see their son or daughter again. someone may have known from the day they were born. there are no words in the english language or any language to relieve the pain of losing such a special person. i went to two funerals over the weekend 31, a funeral in chicago, and another one, a wake in troy, illinois. and a grandmother of brad smith, senior airman brad smith, cried on my soldier. there are no ways you can consol a grandmother who lost someone
she was very devoted to. just like on saturday, a young man, sergeant albert we'rir was born in monrovia, liberia and africa, immigrated to our country. he was an immigrant, learned in chicago, went to school in chicago, volunteered for military treaty was deployed to afghanistan, not once but twice, lost his life. it is important we not forget our gold star parents. we have one of them here today, and it is important we recognize this man and his wife, the stepmother. christopher alcozer , i was at his funeral a few years ago, and it was the hate group from kansas there that tried to disrupt the funeral. they echoed very vile epithets, had vile signs. it was a very difficult day, but
jesse alcozer, his wife judy, and kathy alcozer, the mother of christopher alcozer chip, who was killed defending our country is a real history. he was only 19. he played the viola and he was a wrestler. he combined a lot of skills in life. god did not give him a long life but he gave him a purposeful life. it is important that all this in the land of lincoln remember abraham lincoln's words at gettysburg, 272 words. it is important for all of us, the living, to honor those to give their last full measure of devotion to our democracy, to our government of the people, to our opportunity to be here to have a democracy and make laws and make people's lives better. so i'm very grateful to the alcozer family. all like to have them stand up and be recognized for all that they have done for our country.
i want to point out that jesse alcozer is a vietnam veteran. we all know our country did not do vietnam veterans right when they came home, and jesse was listed once in missing action, wounded seven times during the vietnam war. thought to be dead. well he is definitely not dead, because he testified and helped us pass a law not that long ago called "let them rest in peace." we believe in honoring all of
those would given their lives. we make sure that their funerals are reverent and dignified. any group that seeks to heckle or disrupt a funeral has to stand aside. that is what the members of the general assembly did not that long ago. this law has worked very well to ensure that we have reverence and dignity of our military funerals. i thank you for that. in closing, i think it is important to understand in our state that that there are those among us who will never be on the front page of the paper or on tv. they are the heart and soul of illinois. their kids to the ones who answer the call to duty. they go for it in the face of danger to defend this. they work as a team without complaint. they do not wind. they are not petty. and i think we can take great example from those men and women. my father served in the united states navy for three men -- three years, one month, 15 days. i was the only public service he was ever involved in. he lived to be 93.
god blessed him with a long life. but he always felt that that time in the united states navy was a special time. i think about my father here today, because when i got sworn in on this very place, i talked about my father. i read something from his accommodation by his commanding officer in the united states navy. he said my father was earnest and cooperative and honest and cheerful, and he believed in teamwork. and i kind of thing that that is what we have got to do in illinois. we've got terrible challenges, the toughest we probably ever had in our lifetimes. we complete politics. we can call each other names. we can kind of avoid the problems. but that is not what our service members do when they get responsibilities. it certainly wasn't what my father did in law.
he taught me always to work hard, to treat other people with dignity, don't call people names, be honest, be trustworthy. that to me is what illinois is all about. our state, the land of lincoln, the people of our state, they are the best of the best. with the pride of our nation. we can accomplish great things if we work together. so i look forward to doing that with you, everyone here today, tomorrow, and every day in the future, and we will make the will of the people law of the land. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> will the committee of the
>> thank you very, very much. thank you, ladies and gentleman. time flies when you're having fun. [laughter] the tent governor folsom, speaker hammett, senator smitherman, representative newton, distinguished guests, my fellow public servants, and fellow citizens -- when i first came to this chamber seven years ago, i said then that is our responsibility, our responsibility to work together for a new day -- new day in alabama. but as republicans or democrats, but as alabamians, alabamians united with a common
purpose to do what is best for our people. we meet here tonight to continue that work. you know, we have accomplished so much in the last seven years. but tonight, our focus must be on the future. so to all of you, get ready. get ready to tackle a full agenda. alabama has tremendous opportunities, but a short time to seize them, so let's get to work. first, tonight, let us pledge to each other and to the people of alabama that during this final session before the election season starts, our focus will not be on trying to gain political advantage, but on doing things for the people's
advantage. let us tackle the big issues with bold ideas, so we can make alabama the state to which the future belongs. let us begin by discussing our budgets. now i know you have read the same dire predictions and heard the same horror stories that i have erred. you've heard nothing awaits us in this session but doom and gloom. the lobbyists and the gambling interests have told you over and over that we must find new revenue somewhere or this guy is